October 3, 2019 / 10:38 PM / a month ago

Brazil surpasses 2019 target of $20 billion in privatizations

FILE PHOTO: A man checks his mobile phone as a woman riding a bike passes next to a big Brazilian flag in Sao Paulo, Brazil June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil has privatized or sold state assets worth $23.5 billion in the first nine months of the year, already surpassing its full-year target of $20 billion, the country’s economy ministry said on Thursday.

The government tallied revenue of 78.6 billion reais ($19.25 billion) in privatizations and divestments, 5.7 billion reais obtained in payments for rights to operate infrastructure and 11.9 billion reais in sales of natural assets, consisting mainly of Petrobras oil exploration areas, according to a ministry presentation.

The secretary for privatizations, Salim Mattar, told reporters that his mandate did not include privatizing state oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PETR4.SA), known as Petrobras, or state banks Caixa Economica Federal or Banco do Brasil SA (BBAS3.SA).

The government is primarily selling subsidiaries of Petrobras, Mattar said, adding that he could not speak about listed companies.

Brazil’s right-wing government has made clear it will reduce the state’s footprint in the economy via asset sales, privatizations and concessions across a range of sectors, all of which it hopes will attract foreign investment into the country.

Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, a Chicago-trained economist and disciple of Thatcherite economics, is on record as saying that if he had his way with state companies he would “sell everything”.

Reporting by Marcela Ayres and Jamie McGeever; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Chris Reese and Lisa Shumaker

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